Cabbage Rolls




Versions of this traditional recipe are found all over Eastern Europe. In this tasty variation, cabbage leaves are wrapped around tender rice and plump raisins, and topped with a savory tomato sauce. The recipe calls for cooked rice, so be sure to cook the rice ahead of time or better yet, use leftovers.

  • One head green cabbage, tough outer leaves removed

Filling:
  • 1 large onion, chopped (finely mince 2 T and reserve for sauce)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • ¼ c. raisins
  • 1 t. dried dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sauce:
  • One 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 c. diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 T minced onion
  • ¼ c. apple juice
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ c. tofu sour cream

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Submerge the cabbage and let boil for 5 minutes, or until outermost leaves soften enough to be removed easily. Peel off a few outer leaves and blot dry. Return cabbage to pot and cook until another batch of leaves is soft. Repeat until you have about 12 large leaves. Then chop enough of the remaining cooked cabbage to make 1 cup, and set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté chopped onion and garlic in a little water until onion is soft. Add cooked rice, raisins, dill, salt, pepper, and the 1 cup of chopped cooked cabbage. Stir until mixture is heated through.

To make the sauce, combine the tomato sauce, tomatoes, onion, apple juice and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Working on a countertop or cutting board, remove the tough stems from cabbage leaves. Then place about ¼ cup of the rice mixture in the middle of each leaf. Tuck both ends in and roll to make a little rectangular packet.

Place the cabbage rolls in a baking dish, seam side down.  Pour sauce over cabbage rolls. Cover the pan with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil (the parchment paper prevents the foil from coming into contact with the food). Bake for 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

To serve, remove cabbage rolls from baking dish and place on plates or on a serving platter. Add the ½ cup tofu sour cream to the remaining sauce in the baking dish and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture over the cabbage rolls. Sprinkle with additional black pepper if desired.


                    
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